Deal with the devil?

Here is our weekly D&D update.

When last we saws are intrepid heroes they had just defeated an evil Kobold chief and were getting ready to explore what was behind the secret door.  After resting for the night the players traveled down a long hallway that got progressively colder.  At the bottom of the trail the entered a great cavern sparkling with ice crystals.  Unfortunately they had stumbled into the lair of the true ruler of the kobolds, a young white dragon named Szartharrax.  The dragon got the jump on the heroes.  They were able to escape due to a well timed fear prayer from Hesikiah.

Upon returning to town to collect a bounty on the Kobolds the heroes got into an argument with the local lord.  He did not want to pay them for killing the kobold’s chief because the dragon was the true leader.  After an out-burst by Kane which landed him in the stockade for 4 days, the heroes planned to strike a deal with the dragon to exact revenge against the lord who wronged them.

It was at this point the heroes said fair well to the brave paladin Wil.  Upon his departure they gave him a sizable donation to his temple.  Blessing them and bidding them farewell he walked off into the sunset.  They met up with a new member of the group; a Dragonborn fighter named Serge.  Like the rest of the group, Serge came to Fallcrest to seek fortune only to find a lack of work.  As word of the heroes’ victory spread, he looked to join up with them to aid his hunt for gold.

Gathering all the gold, silver and copper they could, they descended again to meet with the dragon.  They were able to flash the gold and get the dragon’s attention.  The dragon showed little interest in the lord but did ask the heroes to go deal with the local porter’s guild leader.  It came to the dragon’s attention that he was moving very valuable goods for someone.  The dragon wants the heroes to collect the goods for him and deal with any potential threats to his power in the area.

The heroes find the guild leader, a dwarf named Barstomun Strongbeard, drinking in the Lucky Gnome.  The heroes confront him and tell him about the dragon’s plot in the hopes to set a trap to betray the dragon and settle the score with the lord.  He listens to the heroes with an air of insincerity.  The dwarf tries to discover the location of the dragon and when he fails, he orders the heroes a round of drinks and disappears into the back room.  Thinking he is saving his friends from a possible poisoning, Kava slams Serge into the heroes table.  Using the disturbance as a distraction, Barstomun’s thugs attack.  A fantastic bar brawl ensues highlighted with Kane roasting a Halfling by blasting him into a fireplace.

Our heroes then raced off to find the sneaky dwarf who set them up.  They found a hidden door inside a giant beer keg and discovered an underground compound.  The first room of this compound consisted of many raised platforms over a sandy pit.  As our heroes rushed forward they were pepper by arrows shot by a bandit commander and his hobgoblin henchmen.  Our heroes made short work of the hobgoblin thugs sent forward to dispatch our heroes but Kane came to know the painful sting of arrow fire shot by the archers.  Hesikiah was able to revive him but the mage was overcome once again by a swarm of rats that live in the pit.  Serge rushed forward in an attempt to stop the archers.  Unfortunately the bandit commander was able to subdue him.  Things were looking bleak for our heroes.  Their fighter and their mage were both down.  But they were not overtaken.  Serge, through an act of shear will, was able to pick himself up and surge forward to take down an archer.  Using arrow fire and axe swings Kava was able to subdue the other archer.  Hesikiah was able to raise Kane.  Finally the team came together using spell and steel to vanquish the commander.  The rats were content to feed themselves on the bodies of the fallen foe.

Our heroes continue their chase after the evil dwarf.  Where will their path lead them next?

Wii Fit Challange

I have set up my Wii with Wii Fit in our spare room and I am embarking on a Wii Fit challenge.  My goal is to put 30 minutes into my FitBank 5 days a week; specifically Monday thru Friday.  I have set myself a modest goal of 1 pound a week in weight loss.  After 2 weeks I will adjust my goal depending on how well the first two weeks went.

Staying in shape is something I have always struggles with.  I work in a very low activity job, I am not really into sports and, as you can tell by the bulk of my blog posts, I am really into food.  I figure at my age I have a good chance of getting into shape and achieving my fitness goals.  If I wait until later in life it will only get harder and harder.

The reason I like the idea of the Wii Fit is that it has my fitness tracking, weight tracking and goal tracking all in one.  Also, because it is a video game, I feel comfortable with it.  I have been to a gym once or twice and I just feel completely uncomfortable there.  With this I feel like doing something familiar.  Also, if you already have a Wii, it is economical.  A decent treadmill alone is going to set you back $400.  It is also very economical if you borrow the game from a family member.  Thanks to Josh and Sonia for lending us the game.  The coaching is also very nice.  They are easy to follow and with the balance board you get on-screen confirmation that you are doing things at least semi-correct.

The first time went well.  Let’s hope the trend continues.  I will post my results here.  Please let me know about any of your Wii Fit or fitness experience.

Say cheese

Say cheese

So last night was my first attempt at making homemade macaroni and cheese.  Personally I felt it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.  I want some help.  I want a real nice and creamy mac and cheese that is full of flavor.  I like the idea of baking the top with some cheese and breadcrumbs for a nice crust.  Here is what I have so far:

8oz         Cooked macaroni
3tbsp     Margarine
3tbsp     Flour
3c            Skim Milk
2c            Grated Sharp Cheddar
1/2c       Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2c       Grated Sharp Cheddar
2tbsp     Fine Bread Crumbs
Dash      Paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  In a sause pan, melt the margarine.  Slowly add the flower, combining to form a roux.  Slowly add the milk.  Make sure whisk the mixture smooth.  Add the 2c of cheddar and Parmesan cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and well combined.  Place macaroni in a casserole dish.  Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni.  Stir gently so the sauce covers the macaroni.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar over the top of the dish.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheddar.  Add the dash of paprika over the top of the dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.

So that is what I did.  It was OK but it wasn’t great.  Please help out if you can.  This seems like something could become a favorite but I just wasn’t really happy with my result.  Comments away!

Curry chicken broccoli

This is a recipe that I used to make when I was a kid.  It is really tasty.

2-4 lrg Chicken breasts (boneless is best)
2 lrg Broccoli crown
2 cans Cream of mushroom soup
1 cup  Mayonnaise 
1 cup Shredded cheddar
4tsp  Curry powder or paste
4-5tsp Lemon juice 

 Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and line the bottom of a baking pan.  Place the chicken on the broccoli.  Combine the soup, mayonnaise, curry powder, and lemon juice.  Whip it together and pour over the the chicken and broccoli.  Sprinkle the cheddar over the coated chicken.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheese.

Bake for about 45 minutes.  Serve with rice and enjoy.  Try it out and post you comments.  Let me know if you have any ideas on how to improve it.

Rollin’ with the hommies

So a few of us have been playing dungeons and dragons for a while now.  Yesterday I hosted (a.k.a. DMed) a 4th edition session and it went quite well.  Here is the story of so far as our heroes brave the dangers of the Kobold Hall.

Our heroes started their adventure in the town of Fallcrest.

Kava is a Dragonborn Ranger who came to Fallcrest to make money escorting trade caravans along the trade road.  Unfortunately trading has been slow and he has been working as a porter carrying goods from boats below the town’s waterfalls to boats waiting above.  He hates his job and has been waiting for an opportunity to find fortune.

Kane Shadowsedge is a Human Wizard came to Fallcrest to learn from a reported master wizard who lives in the town.  Unfortunately the claims were greatly exaggerated.  He has been spent most of his time sipping ale trying to figure out what to do next.

Hesikiah is a Teifling Cleric of Ioun.  He came to Fallcrest to hopefully establish a small temple.  He hasn’t been in town long but did find a shrine to Ioun in one of the larger temples in town.  He does not feel he could make many converts in this town.  His lust for knowledge is driving him to move along.

Our heroes met one evening when some particularly nasty bar patrons started to cause trouble.  Working together they were able to remove the ruffians.  They decided that they would work together to take up the challenge of the local lord to remove a Kobold threat in the area.

The lord also introduced them to a local Paladin of Erathis, Wil, who was zealous to bring civlization to the Kobolds or remove the abomination by force.

The heroes set off with their mules and wagon to explore the threat at a site the local call Kobold Hall.  It was a large estate that had been abandoned for many years.  The townspeople have seen the Kobold bandits hanging out around the ruins.  This would be a sensible place for base of operations.

As the heroes enter an underground they are attacked by a few of the little lizard people.  They threw odd, glue-bombs that hampered movement and stabbed at them with spears.  The heroes easily dispatched the nasty beasts.  The only casualty was Kava’s pride as he was pushed into a pit of green, sticky muck by a Kobold less than half his size.  One sneaky fellow did manage to escape and warn his allies.

As the heroes continue they enter an old tomb.  The Kobolds are crouched behind some of the coffins for cover, shooting at the heroes as they enter.  Kava attempted to rush the enemies and only avoids getting hit by a poison dart trap but falling on his face.  The heroes overcame the Kobolds but the sneaky fellow did manage to run off again.

As the heroes pursued the sneaky Kobold they interrupted a game of skull-skull.  Using a large rock on a rope, the Kobolds try to knock a skull off a coffin.  The rock on a rope also works well against the heads of the heroes.  Kava was hit hard and was knocked into another pit of green muck.  The heroes also met the Kobold’s pet Guard Drakes.  The Drakes are very nasty beasts who managed to mortally wound Wil.  The rest of the party was able to quickly dispatch the remaining enemies (Kava managing a mighty blow that took down a drake in one hit) and stabilize Wil.

Our heroes’ last encounter of the night leads them into a large room.  As soon as they entered, a very large boulder started rolling around the room.  Anyone caught in its path was painfully crushed.  The heroes were assaulted by glue-throwing Kobolds.  Hesikiah was hit by a glue-bomb and was hurt badly when he was unable to move out of the way of the rolling boulder.  A well placed sleep spell cast by Kane allowed the party to quickly kill the Kobold’s leader.  Unfortunately a sneaky Spiretop Drake stole Kava’s coin purse and took off down passage hidden behind a secret door.  Though they did loose some coin, the Kobold leader did have a magic orb that Kane might find useful.  A note found on the dead leader also points to someone or something more sinister behind the Kobold attacks.  What lurks beyond the secret passage…?

Come on baby light my fire

I am making chili tonight.  Not just any chili, my champion chili.  This recipe has won two armature chili cook-offs and I am still working and reworking the recipe today.  This is how it stands currently:

Canned Goods:
1              can mushrooms (pieces and stems, drained)
1              can mushrooms (whole, drained)
1              can kidney beans (do not strain)
1              can black beans (do not strain)
2              cans dices tomatoes
1              can tomato paste

Meats:
1lb          lean ground beef
1/2lb      bacon (finely diced)

Spices:
6tbsp     chili powder
6tsp       onion salt
2tsp       basil
2tsp       garlic powder
2tsp       pepper
4-6tbsp maple syrup
1              chipotle pepper

Directions:
Throw everything into a crock pot and cook on high for at least 5 hours.  Serve with garlic bread or cheese buns.

So yeah.  That is all there is to it.  The chipotle pepper was my most recent addition and it has such a good flavor.  Also I used to cook everything on the stove and it took about an hour.  The slow cooker is like a magic pot that makes the meat so good.  I don’t think I would ever go back to cooking it on the stove.  It really made a big difference.  Please try it out and let me know what you think.  Please offer ways I can improve it.  The whole concept of this chili is smokey-spicy.  I wouldn’t call it zesty or tangy.  Those aren’t the flavors I am going for.  Comment away!

It is all greek to me

I have been making my pseudo Greek meal for a while now and we really like it.  It has 3 basic parts:

Greek Salad, Greek Potatoes and Greek Chicken

Now I am not Greek, I have never been to Greece and I don’t study Greek cuisine.  I just make Greek inspired food.  Ok let’s start with the salad.

Brad’s Greek Salad:

Salad:
1 lrg        Long English Cucumber
2 lrg        Green Peppers
1 lrg        Coloured Pepper (red, yellow or orange)
1 lrg        Tomatoes
½ cup    Greek Olives
1 med   Red Onion
½ cup    Crumbled Feta Cheese

Dressing:
½ cup    Olive Oil
½ cup    Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp    Lemon Juice
1 tsp      Oregano
2              Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
½ tsp     Salt
½ tsp     Pepper

Dice all the salad fixings into bite sized (2 cm) chunks.  Throw them all in a large bowl.  Mix all the dressing ingredients in an air tight container.  Shake well.  Pour about half of the dressing onto the salad and toss well.  You can add more dressing as you like or save it for the next time.  It will keep for about a week no problem.  Your salad is done.

Greek-style Potatoes:

1lb          Baby Potatoes
3              Cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 tsp      Oregano
2tbsp     Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

Pre-heat your oven to 450.  Wash and halve the potatoes.  Place them in a baking pan cut side down.  Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil.  Drizzle the lemon juice over the potatoes.  Spread the minced garlic over the potatoes.  Sprinkle the oregano over the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Throw the potatoes into the oven for about 30 minutes.  Serve with sour cream or tzatziki.

Greek Chicken:

2-3          Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2tbsp     Lemon Juice
½ tsp     Oregano
2-3          Cloves of Garlic (minced)
Salt & Pepper

Place the chicken in a shallow dish.  Drizzle half of the lemon juice on side A.  Spread half the garlic on side A.  Sprinkle half the oregano on side A.  Season side A with salt and pepper.  Flip the chicken over and repeat.  Set chicken aside and prep your grill.  Preheat your BBQ on high.  After about 5 minutes clean the grill with your grill brush, turn the heat down to about med-high and brush the grill with olive oil.  Throw chicken on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes.  Turn chicken 45 degrees and cook (lid closed) for another 5 minutes.  Turn chicken over and cook (with lid closed) for another 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken 45 degrees and cook the last 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from the grill and serve.

So that is how I put together a Greek-like meal.  Please post comments about your favorite Greeky-type food.